The University of Washington
With becoming modesty, our species has named itself "Homo sapiens sapiens." What quality do we have that justifies this claim? Is the quality of intelligence also possessed by other species. . .or by machines? These questions cannot be answered until the terms in them are defined. The importance of definition is illustrated by the history of debates over human intelligence. Discussions of racial, cultural, and sexual differences in intelligence have often degenerated into emotional, poorly focused conflicts. The issues have not been settled in part because the questions have not been clearly stated. More recently we have seen the rise of a vocal "Animal Rights" movement. It is based on an interesting, albeit poorly articulated, set of concepts about the nature of the nonhuman mind and about the obligation of humans to other sentient beings. The debate between animal welfare advocates and biological scientists is difficult to carry forward because the two sides see the issues so differently. Failing a definition of what we are talking about, we are not likely to talk about it very sensibly.
Virtually all scientific studies of human, animal,1 or for that matter, machine intelligence are carried on at two levels. The investigators always have a theory of the general nature of intelligence, but they seldom make this theory explicit. Nevertheless, the implicit theory is used to generate explicit situations for observing behavior. These are described in detail and the behavior that is observed then becomes "intelligence." Because different people may have different implicit theories, disagreements arise about the meaning of empirical findings,____________________